Visitors’ attachment to urban parks in Los Angeles, CA

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Urban parks are a vital resource. They provide a wealth of benefits that support the health and well-being of the people who use them and the ecosystems in which they reside. In densely populated cities, parks are often the only nearby natural resource for local residents to engage with and learn about the environment. Place attachment—individuals’ psychological and emotional connection to their local parks and natural areas—has been shown to be a precursor to engaging in volunteer stewardship activities. Yet the place attachment research to date has largely focused on non-urban recreation settings, such as national parks, leaving a large gap in understanding place attachment in urban settings and on smaller scales. This paper describes the results of a study conducted in the Baldwin Hills Parklands, a multi-use park system located in densely populated Los Angeles, CA, USA. A survey of 287 visitors revealed high levels of place attachment across the Parklands, and frequency of use was positively associated with level of place attachment. Among the highest rated sentiments were feelings of safety and peacefulness. Unexpectedly, drivers expressed greater attachment than those arriving on foot or other means of transportation. Visitors with higher place attachment were also more likely to be willing to participate in volunteer stewardship. Renters and lower-middle income visitors expressed lower levels of place attachment than homeowners and upper income visitors, while Latinx visitors had higher place attachment than non-Latinx visitors. The paper discusses the findings and their implications for management and future research on place attachment in urban parks.


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Recommended Citation

Michele Romolini, Robert L. Ryan, Emily R. Simso, Eric G. Strauss, "Visitors’ attachment to urban parks in Los Angeles, CA," Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 41, 2019, pp. 118-126, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2019.03.015.